For students wanting to find a role on the business side of healthcare, the Bachelor of Science in Long-Term Healthcare Management (LTHM) at South Georgia State College could be a good fit. The program started in the spring of 2020 and recently graduated its first cohort of students.
The Long-Term Healthcare Management program is designed to develop educational skills and knowledge for managers of long-term healthcare provided in patient residences and long-term care facilities. Additionally, students gain an increased understanding and knowledge of quality healthcare systems relating to quality assurance, risk management, managed care, insurance, ethics, and other information and practices important to managing in a demanding healthcare environment. Graduates of this program have the skills to coordinate care among interdisciplinary health care professionals, community agencies, and long-term care facilities, all of which will increase quality of life and improve long-term outcomes. The program is housed in the SGSC School of Nursing.
Francisco Lopez from Pearson, Ga., was one of the first to earn the degree. He knew he was interested in the nursing field but was not sure what path to take. As he was reviewing alternative programs, the LTHM program became available. He attended the first program meeting to get to know more about the degree.
Lopez explained, “A highlight of the program was how it was offered hybrid and how the courses were designed to have one full term course, two A term courses, and one B term course. The course was very flexible and allowed me to hold a full-time job with a company where I intend to stay long term.” Being a part of the program also helped Lopez to get a head start on pursuing his career. “The flexibility allowed me to become part of a growing company at Smile Doctors where I am offered opportunities to grow,” he says. “My advice to future students is to join the program and gain a better understanding in healthcare systems and to be part of a growing community.”
Larren Corbitt of Nicholls, Ga., also recently graduated from the program. He says, “I was studying rehabilitation sciences at another institution when I found this program. I had a lot of opportunities back home, and I found that this program would allow me to pursue them as well. This program gave me the opportunity to work as well as receive my degree.” Corbitt explained that he works with a commercial beekeeping operation and has his own bees within the operation as well. “During the program, I was able to still pursue this opportunity. I would recommend this program to others that need to work as well as attend college,” he said.
Being a Douglas, Ga., native, Auje Wilson decided to stay close to home to pursue a degree. She says her choice seemed to be one of divine intervention. Wilson explains, “While looking to further my education, I was already working in the medical field as an LPN and had recently been promoted to office manager. As I followed my physician to different healthcare facilities making rounds, I started to create more of a love for the management side of healthcare as I obtained more experience. The opportunity couldn’t have been more perfect.” She explains the positive highlights of the program, “While working in a management position with little to no experience and actually having those little light bulbs go off during lessons and assignments for class had to be the highlight of the program. It helped me solve problems on the job or think through things in different perspective to help my management skills while actively living in the moment. I could take what I was learning and put it all to work for a greater outcome in the classroom and on the job.”
Another graduate, Daniel Hampton from Waycross, Ga., is currently employed at Harborview Pierce County Nursing Home as the Medical Records and Purchasing Coordinator. He recently started a graduate program in business administration through Valdosta State University. Hampton says, “My plans are to climb the ladder as high as I possibly can in the administrative side of the healthcare field. To anyone starting the program, I would say the four semesters will fly by. My best advice is to stay on top of the assignments, always look ahead, and know you will be successful. The most challenging thing for our class was dealing with the COVID pandemic as soon as we started our program.” Despite the issues surrounding the pandemic, the first class was able to finish on schedule and use what they learned as they move forward in their careers.
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